SNIDER: Time for Snyder to sell Redskins

Rick Snider
July 06, 2020 - 11:26 am

Redskins owner Dan Snyder is suddenly naked and afraid.

Without exiled team president Bruce Allen, Snyder is solely left to deal with historical issues, angry fans, bolting partners and indifferent bureaucrats. If not so bad at football matters, Allen would still be protecting Snyder from the growing maelstrom that now threatens to claim the Redskins name.

And maybe more?

Now is the perfect time for Snyder to sell the Redskins. While he planned to own the team for life, Snyder also promised to "never" change the team name. Looks like never isn't forever in the age of the pandemic.

Living in Europe over recent months hasn't protected Snyder from discontent once buffered by Allen. The franchise is at the crossroad of irrelevant and inappropriate. Few local fans attended games over recent seasons and the only reason Redskins is on the public's mind is via outsiders who wish to add it to their notches of cancel culture.

Allen was the peacemaker inside Redskins Park despite being a pompous jerk. Allen would have kept minority owners Fred Smith, Robert Rothman and Dwight Schar from seeking buyers for their combined 40 percent share of the $3 billion-plus franchise. Allen would have been the front man of the Redskins name because history is what he sold as the son of the late great Redskins coach George Allen.

Bruce Allen was great at ignoring people and would have kept growing calls for a name change from Snyder, just like he did several times over recent years. Maybe Allen couldn't stop what's becoming a national call for change, but Snyder wouldn't have been alone in dealing with it. The response would certainly be more measured.
 
With mounting opposition, Snyder should consider selling. He's not the beloved local owner like predecessor Jack Kent Cooke. Indeed, he has slipped to the same level of loathing that former owner George Preston Marshall endured in 1962 when financially forced to integrate the team. Marshall's statue was recently removed from RFK Stadium. Nobody's ever building one for Snyder, whose 21-year tenure has been mired in misery.

Cooke's death was the end of Camelot for Redskins fans. Snyder's exit will be celebrated in the streets of Washington.
 
The Redskins' goodwill has long expired. The pandemic threatens to have no fans in the stands this season. A new stadium may cost $1 billion or more with governments no longer subsidizing billionaire owners with generous bailouts, and that's if Snyder can find a location after several years of shopping.

Snyder won't get a better price than now. He paid $800 million for the team in 1999 that's now estimated to be worth $3.6 billion. Snyder's reported 60 percent ownership would earn $2.16 billion alongside the equity he has pulled out over the years with minority owners.

Snyder has an in-house buyer with Smith, whom Snyder once outmaneuvered for the team. The FedEx chairman sat back when Howard Milstein's bid failed as the latter's minority partner emerged with a new bid to keep the sale from re-opening to the public. Smith was waiting to pay less when Milstein's bid collapsed, rather than aggressively seeking it. Instead, Smith was left to later buy in as a minority partner.

Smith can write this check to buy out Snyder. The only reason Snyder doesn't want to sell is the team gives him some public relevance like Marshall and Cooke. Otherwise, Snyder is just another rich guy in a town filled with them. But, all Snyder has earned is ill will among his fellow Washingtonians. He certainly didn't buy a Super Bowl championship despite running up payrolls in the early 2000s.

Cooke's three Super Bowl trophies changed his public perception from just being another mean old rich guy to a beloved benefactor of the franchise that once owned Washington sports. Snyder has no victories – moral or mythical.

Change the name movement needs to move on to change the owner.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks

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